2016 Beginners Guide To Social Media For Small Businesses

Social Media Small Business Guide

Whether your a small to medium sized business which has yet to enter the social media game fully or a brand new start up which has yet to even set up your social media accounts, there are two things you should know:

  • It’s absolutely fine to start small
  • It’s a marathon not a sprint

There are lots of social media platforms out there, but you don’t need to be on all of them.

Not sure how Pinterest can help your business? You probably don’t need it.

Haven’t got a clue how Instagram can help you? Don’t sign up.

While being active on social media sites can help build loyal followers to your brand and increase search engine visibility, it’s also a time consuming activity.

Time is precious, wasting it on trying to be active on all social media sites is a mistake.

Deciding which social channels to sign up to and engage with your audience, depends on who they are. It’s important you find out where the majority like to hang out the most and start there.

As a general rule of thumb:

  • Snapchat – Younger audience (teens)
  • Pinterest – Female, mothers, fashionists
  • Linkedin – Business people, entreprenuers, leaders
  • Twitter – Bloggers, influencers
  • Facebook – Young, old (almost everyone)

Now you have an idea of where your customers are, it’s time to start connecting, build some engagement and most importantly make some sales!

We have comprised the following tips, which will kick start any social media campaign for any business in 2016.

1) Choose a consistent handle

Every social network you sign up to will require a handle (name). Keeping this the same across the board will ensure brand consistency and make it easy for your customers to find and recognise your business.

Check to make sure the handle is available across all channels before you start signing up, it would be annoying to sign up to Facebook only to find the handle has been taken on Twitter.

2) Keep At It – Don’t Dissapear

I’ve already mentioned that social media is a marathon not a sprint. Not only should you keep running but also keep a steady pace when updating and posting, consistency is key. Go missing for 2 – 3 weeks and your social accounts will loose traction and engagement.

In order to help you stay consistent it may be worth investing in social media management software like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

3) Twitter Can Directly Increase Your Businesses Sales

Would it surprise you if I revealed that 72% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy from you if they have engaged with your business on Twitter?

Details of the full study can be found in the infographic below – Credit here.

Twitter Buying Infographic

If your business is not currently on Twitter, sign up and get active.

4) It’s Not Just About Sales – Or It Shouldn’t Appear So

If you turn your social media accounts into a non stop self promotion contest, it’s likely followers & fans will become disinterested, killing engagement.

You need to give something back whether that be useful information, contests or communicating directly etc.

You probably have more valuable information to share than you think, work out how you can re – purpose content at your disposal to fit in with different social channels and the steps you need to take in order to produce additional content.

5) Be Responsive & Improve Your Business Customer Support

If a customer makes a comment (good or bad) get back to them. Failing to respond to comments will portray a business that simply doesn’t care. How’s that going to look for potential customers that connect with your business on social media for the purpose of making a buying decision?

6) Images & Video Are Important

Social media isn’t just about written words, it’s about visually putting your businesses message across.

It’s a competitive environment, where you will be competing with lots of other brands to get your customers attention.

Beat of the competition and wow them with attention grabbing visual magic!

7) Encourage Feedback

Many social channels provide the option for customers to leave reviews for your business. It’s important you encourage this as much as you can as reviews leverage social proof and authenticate your business.

8) Join The Best Linkedin Groups For Small Business

Winning the players player of the year award for my local football team at the age of 11 was one of my finest moments! My parents still have the trophy!

You could say I absolutely love an awards ceremony, which is the reason I am hosting the best Linkedin groups for small business awards tonight.

Time to get spruced up with an elegant ball gown or black tie, and celebrate the Linkedin groups that every small business owner should turn to when they need help, advice or talented team members.

9) Keep It Real

Having the ability to portray your businesses personal side via social media is a valuable asset.

It’s important you try and keep the same tone and message consistent across the board having identified the type of language your customers use to talk about your industry.

If your business is not in a position to employ a dedicated social media manager, it’s a good idea to delegate the work to 2 or 3 employees. You could even go as far as to integrate a social media policy to help educate your team.

10) Remember Mobile

Just because you and your employees are communicating on social media sites via PC’s, doesn’t mean your customers are. The majority of Twitter and Facebook users will actaully be accessing from their mobiles. Imagine their disappointment having clicked through to your website to find it isn’t mobile friendly.

11) Keep Learning

Any business owner or even social media “expert” who claims they totally understand how to make social media work, is frankly full of _____.

Social media is constantly evolving and new social media sites, each with a slightly different way of communicating are regularly being introduced. Don’t sit back on your success, keep reading, learning and developing your businesses social media strategy.

12) Track Your Results

It’s likely your business will make a sizeable investment in social media over time, which makes it important you see results. By results I mean the cold hard cash type, not the impressive follower count that fails to generate any revenue type.

Questions, suggestions and general chit chat are most welcome via the comment section below, it’s time to get social!

James Brands specialises in the development of websites and applications at WilliCreative. He is also a proven SEO expert using the latest techniques to increase the visibility of both local and national client sites.

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